Wild trout roe in a warm crust of dried pigs’ blood

A delicious appetizer with a surprising texture, a recipe by Magnus Nilsson
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“This recipe, together with the scallop over burning juniper, is the most iconic that this young restaurant has come up with. Served as an appetizer before the main meal, I love it for its deliciousness, and for the egg-yolk flavour of the trout roe and its popping texture. It started when I was searching for a good vehicle for the different types of roe that are available from the clean, crisp mountain waters around Fäviken. At first it was a little potato pancake, which turned into a blood pancake, which later turned into a crispy disc of fried Swedish black pudding (blood sausage). This process took about two years and the change to something closer to perfection occurred when I found an old croustade iron in a flea market. I bought it and started experimenting with the batter – a hellish task, as it turned out. The idea is that you heat the whole iron in hot fat, then dip it into a very runny batter just long enough for some of it to cook and stick to the surface. When the iron is lifted out, the excess batter drips off the iron, which is once more dipped into hot fat to cook the thin crust formed on it.

You can probably imagine how difficult it was to find a recipe that didn’t stick too much to the iron, especially when I started to substitute some of the egg for pigs’ blood. At first it was just that, a thin crust of pastry containing blood, which we filled with trout roe and a little salt on top. After a while we added a kind of custard containing blood, which was piped into the crusts to fill them halfway and then baked at the last minute, topping the now custard-filled pastry with trout roe. The dish took on its final appearance when I saw some dried blood on a plate in the kitchen; shiny and almost black, it had an extremely fragile texture when you touched it, and running a fingernail through it shattered it into tiny, almost glass-like fragments, which were delicious.

From then on we dipped the crusts in raw blood and baked them before piping the custard into them. This process is what gives the crust its very particular texture and appearance.”

-Magnus Nilsson

Serves: 6

Ingredients for the croustades

100g unbleached, wholemeal (whole wheat) flour

1 pinch salt

100g double (heavy) cream

50g pig’s blood, plus 100g for dipping

1 egg yolk

10g melted butter

fresh, unsalted trout roe, taken out of the fridge about 2 hours before serving

neutral oil, for deep-frying

salt

Ingredients for the custard

100g pigs’ blood

100g whole eggs

25g butter

Mix together the flour, salt, double cream, 50g pigs’ blood, egg yolk and melted butter to make a batter and leave it to rest in the fridge overnight. If you rush this you will get bubbles in your croustades.

Heat the oil with the croustade iron in the casserole. When it is nice and hot, take the iron out and dip it quickly into the batter, then put the whole thing quickly but carefully back into the oil and cook until crisp.

Loosen the little croustades from the iron and place on a paper towel.

When all the croustades are cooked, dip them one by one into the blood and place them upside down on a rack so the excess blood runs off. Turn them right way up again and place on a baking tray. Cook at 150°C (300°F) until the blood is dry and completely coagulated. Repeat until the desired thickness is achieved - it depends on the thickness of the blood, but 3 times is usually enough.

To make the custard, place all the ingredients in a Thermomix and process at 80°C (175°F) until thick and silky smooth. Place in a piping (pastry) bag and keep it at room temperature until later.

When the croustades are ready, halfway-fill them with custard and warm them through in the oven at 150°C (300°F). When warm, spoon a nice mound of roe into each croustade and place them on preheated stones or plates. Finish with a tiny pinch of salt on top of each one.

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Faviken

Fäviken is an exclusive insight into one of the world's most interesting restaurants: Fäviken Magasinet in Sweden. Narrative texts, photographs and recipes explain head chef Magnus Nilsson's remarkable approach to sourcing and cooking with ingredients that are farmed and hunted in the immediate vicinity of the restaurant, and how he creates a seasonal cycle of menus based on them.

Even though not everyone can visit Fäviken, Nilsson’s approach to working with ingredients in the most natural, intuitive way possible, and making the most of each season, will inspire all cooks and food-lovers to think differently about the ingredients that are available to them.

Many of the basic recipes for yoghurt, bread, porridge, vinegar, pickles and preserves are simple and straightforward enough for anyone to attempt at home, and the advice on natural preservation methods can be followed by anyone.

The text in Fäviken will provide inspiration for chefs and food-lovers all over the world and are fully accessible to the general reader.